Thursday, October 1, 2020

Eldritch Tales 10/1/20 Deal of the Day!

Just want to get the word out that, today 10/1/20 starting at 11 AM EST, Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing is the "Deal of the Day" over at DriveThruRPG!! If you are interested and haven't picked it up, you can get the PDF today for only $3.50 - a fraction of the retail price!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Eldritch Tales on Spikepit!

Just wanted to share the news here - Colin "Spikepit" Green dropped an overview of Eldritch Tales today on his excellent podcast! 

I'm a fan of the Spikepit podcast and back Colin's Patreon. He's started hosting occassional one-shots as a Patreon benefit and I'll be running Eldritch Tales in early October for Colin and three other players!

Visit Colin's Patreon here and drop him a buck or two if you're so inclined!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

REAVER Classes - The Barbarian

In all of Sword & Sorcery fiction, one character stands out above all others and it only seems fitting to start with ... the Barbarian! The Barbarian's prominence and popularity stems from the creations of Robert E. Howard…Conan, Kull, and others… as well as Lieber’s Fafhrd and from the numerous pastiche characters based on them. Barbarians appeared early in the history of RPGs, as early as 1982, when Gary Gygax penned the Barbarian as a fighter sub-class in Dragon Magazine, but from those early origins, the class has evolved (within Dungeons and Dragons) from a wilderness warrior who detests magic to a raging damage dealer who might employ magical effects. 

In REAVER, the Barbarian not a rage-oriented character, that place is left for the Berserker, and certainly has no magical abilities. Instead, Barbarians are warrior tribesmen who live close to the wild. They are excellent combatants, but while a Fighter relies on skill and technique, Barbarians focus on delivering powerful blows and following through when they fell an enemy. They are skilled in survival, have an uncanny sense for danger, and are comfortable fighting unarmored. Designed in this manner, the Class might easily represent a Conan-like hero, a shirtless Celt striving against Roman legionaries, or a bloodthirsty savage in a dark fantasy setting.

Let's borrow a barbarian hero from fiction and recreate them as a REAVER character, and best to start with character everyone knows - Brule the Spear-Slayer! (Did you think is going to "Conan?)

Howard didn't tell us much about Brule's backstory, but we can extrapolate a few things. He is a Barbarian Pict from the Pictish Isles; by his own words, he is very stealthy; he is sometimes an emissary and sometimes a soldier; he is as skilled at mounted combat as he is afoot. What is presented below is a draft version of the Character Class and is subject to change.
(*updated 3/28/21)

*The author claims no rights on the Brule character and is only using it as an example.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Introducing REAVER RPG!

Once again, I am returning after a hiatus away from the blog to drop a bit of an update! Back in January, I mentioned that I was putting together a new Role-Playing Game, and it has greatly progressed since then. I was off work during the coronavirus shutdown and was able to get quite a bit of work done and even ran a few early playtests. Concerning genre, it is heavy inspired by Sword & Sorcery, Dark Fantasy, and Historical Fiction... I literally don't know exactly how to describe it just yet but the title is ...

I cannot claim to have created something that is entirely new and groundbreaking for RPGs, and that is not my intention. Instead, I have drawn inspiration from a number of games, old and new, and attempted to make a game whose rules feel familiar and are flexible enough to support the various genres mentioned above. So, in this introductory post I want to describe the basics of REAVER (at least as the current draft stands).

ORIGINS: Origins replace "races" and represent a character's culture, place of origin, and nationality. In the core rules, all Origins are humans and are inspired by historical and mythological peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. I've chosen to do this so that they might easily be adapted to other settings, fit into historical fantasy campaigns and many Sword and Sorcery settings, like Hyboria, and be familiar to most readers. I have mentioned in the rules bits my own campaign setting, largely in describing the Origins, but have not decided if I'll include an overview of the world in the rules...I should say that I have striven to present the Origins in a respectful, and even historical manner, while making them suitably fantastic for the genre.

ATTRIBUTES: The familiar six common to many other fantasy games. What's different? The Attribute Feat system from Eldritch Tales has been modified to operate on a Die Chain, so that every Attribute has an assigned Feat Die, ranging from d3 to d10, and used as the basis for various tests. Dexterity modifies movement. Instead of a "reaction modifier," Charisma dictates a Base Loyalty Die (also a die chain) which is assigned to Hirelings and can be modified later. (As an aside, NPC Morale works the same way.)

CHARACTER CLASSES: I'll be discussing these in future posts, but the core book will include at least the Barbarian, Berserker, Fighter, Priest, Rogue, Scout, and Sorcerer. Priests are each defined by their Faith (Druidism, Shamanism, or Theism) while Sorcerers select a Tradition (Hermeticism, Mysticism, or Witchery). Classes grant the character all of their base abilities and have a format similar to early versions of the "world's first RPG."

CAREERS and SKILLS: Every character selects a Career at first level and two more at later levels. Careers mimic the fiction trope common to Sword & Sorcery where protagonists dabble in multiple occupations throughout their careers. The best example of course is Conan - he is a Barbarian (class), but was a Thief, Mercenary, and Pirate (among other things). These are all Careers in REAVER and allow a player to personalize their PCs. Mechanically, Careers grant the character a Skill and a Feature.
REAVER includes a fairly short and easy Skill system with 18 unique Skills. Most characters start with 3 Skills and have no more than 5 Skills at the maximum level. Skills operate on the Attribute Feat system and grant a +1d on the Die Chain.

RESOLVE and PERIL: The general rules and combat system should be fairly familiar to most, however all characters have Resolve, a measure of their luck, fate, and sheer will to survive. Resolve is based off of the character's Prime Attribute and increases as characters advance in level. Resolve allows characters to do things like heal during combat, increase their damage, gain Advantage on a roll, and cheat death. Resolve can also activate Class abilities, like the Berserker's fury, and is expended to cast magic spells. However, when characters spend Resolve they empower their enemies with Peril, which operates basically as Resolve for the Referee. 

SORCERY: Vancian magic is scrapped. Spellcasters use Resolve to cast spells and receive more Resolve than other classes. They must study or pray each day, but do not "prepare spells" and can rather cast any spell they know. Sorcery is dangerous, dark, and can lead to a character's ultimate downfall. I'll discuss Sorcery more in a later post. 

OTHER RULES: I've adopted the Usage Die for equipment, ammunition, and some other things. On a recent episode of The Purple Worm Podcast, I heard Dave Aldridge mention applying the Usage Die to spell durations and thought that was a very interesting idea and I plan to explore that a bit. There are rules for Hirelings and Companions and characters might gather followers at any level. Seafaring, Travel, and Downtime will all be covered for the referee. Advantage/Disadvantage is used.

Right, so that's a shortish overview. In the next post I'll talk about some Character Classes!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Eldritch Inquirer #1 Released!

Hello Everyone!

After some unforeseen difficulties, the inaugural issue of The Eldritch Inquirer is released and available on Drive Thru RPG available in PDF, Standard POD, and Premium POD!

Inside you will find:
  • An historical chronology of the year of 1920. (10 pages)
  • Manias to expand the Insanity tables in the core Eldritch Tales rules. (3 pages)
  • Interesting and inspiring news articles & advertisements culled from the pages of the Arkham Advertiser, meant to be used as scenario seeds and world-building inspiration. (3 pages)
  • A list of "American" names that offer 80,000 name combinations, all suitable for Eldritch Tales characters of the 1920s. (6 pages)
  • The highlight of the issue, Return of the Windwalker, a full-length scenario that takes the player characters to the remote mountains of New Hampshire to investigate a new archaeological site, but they are soon embroiled in a tale of Mythos madness and mystery! Can they stop the return of the Windwalker? (31 pages)
  • Includes fully-hyperlinked High Resolution and Low Resolution PDFs of the magazine, as well as Color and B&W PDFs of the handouts for the scenario.
This issue is very art heavy, and contains both black and white and color art throughout. Much of the material is system-neutral and that which is written specifically for Eldritch Tales could be easily adapted to other Lovecraftian games.

That's not all, for those running the Return of the Windwalker, I have put the handouts up as a separate Print-on-Demand product (its not possible to include them with a print book). You get a color print of each of the handout and referee map, 14 in all, printed on sturdy cardstock cards. All you have to do is cut them out! The are available here (link)!

Players Beware! The images below may contain spoilers!

Premium Interior
Standard Interior
8.5"x11" Printed Handouts
Smaller Printed Handouts

 Get yours today at Drive Thru RPG!!
The Eldritch Inquirer #1
Return of the Windwalker Handouts


Friday, February 14, 2020

We've Got No Spine...

Just a quick update here... I returned from vacation to find The Eldritch Inquirer, second proof waiting for me. A deep perusal confirmed that all interior issues are fixed and it looks really quite nice, in my humble opinion.

The Standard version lacks some of the clarity and sharpness of the Premium, which you can see in these images. The Premium has a slightly more yellowed look as opposed to the Standard's more grey texture.

Premium left, Standard right

Premium top, Standard bottom

The only concern is that the spine text rolled to the front cover on both versions. It turns out that Lightning Source (the printer) has a 1/8" variation margin, meaning that text can move up to that distance on a finished product and they consider it acceptable. However, I don't. After some discussion with OBS support, I've decided to remove the spine text. I'll be ordering the final proof ASAP! Sorry for the delay!

A few more images of the interior, both from the Premium version ...


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Inquirer Update and other thoughts...

Wanted to update everyone concerning the Eldritch Inquirer.  I received the first print proofs and overall they looked really good! Still, there were a few corrections to make and I am waiting on an answer from DTRPG on something specific. Once I hear back from them, I'll be able to upload again and get a second round of proofs ordered next week. I'm also going back and forth on whether to release the "Standard" version - seems kind of meh, but would be a cheaper option than the "Premium" format. The Premium is much cleaner, also note the trim difference between the two.

1/21/20 UPDATE ... Uploaded new files today and will be ordering new proofs as soon as the they clear!


Something else that has been on my mind lately is Sword & Sorcery. For...well at least a year and a half now, probably a bit longer, I have had it in my mind that I want to write my on S&S style game using White Box as a base to build on, while at the same time stepping away from that game. When writing Eldritch Tales, I made a number of concessions for the sake of compatibility and that led to me including elements that weren't my favorite. And worse making a game that I know is a bit wonky in places.

So, why is suddenly fore in my brain again? I recently heard (from John Large on the Purple Worm podcast) that James Spahn was rewriting and Kickstarting his excellent The Hero's Journey, also based on White Box. When I investigated, I found that James had been talking about his developments on his blog for quite some time (Halfling's Luck) and was voicing similar concerns. I thought, maybe now is the time to revisit this...?

(Find THJ 2e right now on Kickstarter!)

The first question that comes to mind - do we need another S&S game? Well, maybe not. Everyone knows that Inlove Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea, but there are many other great games out there - Conan 2d20, Savage Worlds Beasts & Barbarians and Solomon Kane, Barbarians of Lemuria, Crypts & Things, just to name a few. Still, I want a game that brings together all of the elements that I love, from many other games, but built into new package... so, yeah, maybe a "heartbreaker" game and probably not for everyone, but we'll try to work on that.

What are my goals with this game?
First, write a game that is somewhere between White Box and AS&SH in terms of rules weight. It will show clear inspiration from these games, as well as others like The Black Hack, DCC, 5E, and Conan, not to mention The Hero's Journey.

Next, write a game that could easily be adapted to "historical fantasy" or "alternate history" style games. And honestly the game may sit more closely in these genres than S&S anyway. For example, in the Berserker class that I've drafted, I have stripped out the polymorph ability found in many games, so that what is left is a less fantastic version of the archtype, something more akin to Egil Sallagrimsson than Beorn from The Hobbit.

Finally, step away from some of the traditional elements of fantasy RPGs. Vancian magic will be gone in favor of something more akin to what you see in Eldritch Tales; Armor Class completely changed to actually represent what armor does (it doesn't keep you from being hit, it keeps you from being injured when you are hit); that sort of thing. Still, much of the classic will remain like Classes, Saving Throws, and whatnot.

What do I have written? Quite a bit is drafted - Classes, much of the rules, sorcery, some of the spells, and equipment, have all been visited. Somewhere around 33,000 words (much of this is spells). 

How much has been playtested? Absolutely none of it! Not quite there yet. I'll run it with my home group first, and hope to have something stable by April, when I attend Roundtable Con.

What's this game called? I've no idea! My working title is "Ages Undreamed Of" but that may step on the toes of the Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of property. So, I'm working up other ideas.

Stay tuned for more updates and thanks for visiting!

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Eldritch Inquirer Update!

Greetings All,

Happy New Year & welcome back to the 20s! 

Dropping a quick update concerning the first supplement for Eldritch Tales - The Eldritch Inquirer
From the product description:
The Eldritch Inquirer is the Official Magazine for the Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing game! The pages of the Inquirer hold the secrets of Mythos Earth, history, inspiration, new game mechanisms, world-building material, and a full-length Mythos scenario!

In this inaugural issue, you will find:

  • An historical chronology of the year of 1920. (10 pages)
  • Manias to expand the Insanity tables in the core Eldritch Tales rules. (3 pages)
  • Interesting and inspiring news articles & advertisements culled from the pages of the Arkham Advertiser, meant to be used as scenario seeds and world-building inspiration. (3 pages)
  • A list of "American" names that offer 80,000 name combinations, all suitable for Eldritch Tales characters of the 1920s. (6 pages)
  • The highlight of the issue, Return of the Windwalker, is a full-length scenario that takes the player characters to the remote mountains of New Hampshire to investigate a new archaeological site, but they are soon embroiled in a tale of Mythos madness and mystery! Can they stop the return of the Windwalker? (31 pages)

This issue is very art heavy, and contains both black and white and color art throughout. Much of the material is system-neutral and that which is written specifically for Eldritch Tales could be easily adapted to other Lovecraftian games.

Included are High Resolution and Low Resolution PDFs of the magazine, as well as Color and B&W PDFs of the handouts for the scenario.

The scenario handouts are also available on high quality cardstock through DTRPG's print-on-demand service! 


Inclusive of front matter, the OGL, and end pages, this issue clocks in at 59 pages in a perfect bound trade-sized format!

I've ordered the print proofs today of both Premium and Standard versions, I want to see the differences between the two and decide if they should both be offered. I've already received the proofs of the POD Handouts and they are quite nicely printed on heavy cardstock that will withstand your player's snack-smudged hands. 

I hope to release two issues each year. For the foreseeable future, issues will follow the same basic format - chronology of a year (issue #2 will be 1921), a name list of a particular nation or culture, articles and adverts, some game mechanics info, and a scenario. 

So that's it for now. Barring printing issues, I'll be back in the next week or so with images of the proofs and release information!

All the best!